Tag Archives: PARANORMAL ROMANCE

COLD REIGN – BLOG TOUR

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Character Profile: Adelaide
Adelaide Mooney starts out as Shaddock’s heir’s (Dacy Mooney) blood-servant and daughter in life. She looks late twenties but is in her early 80’s. If she wants to keep her youth, it would be wise to be turned in the next decade.

She is taller than Jane with blue eyes that tint toward a delicate shade of lavender or cornflower blue. She wears perfect makeup and has flawless skin. She has an innate elegance and wears her blonde hair in a French twist, and her designer clothing tailored. Her hands are soft and delicate, fingers long and slender but powerful. She smells like Lincoln Shaddock’s blood, expensive perfume, money, and entitlement.

Adelaide is now Leo’s new primo.

Compiled by Melissa M. Gilbert of Clicking Keys, for the Character History of the Jane Yellowrock world
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About COLD REIGN:
Jane Yellowrock is a shape-shifting skinwalker…and the woman rogue vampires fear most.

Jane walks softly and carries a big stake to keep the peace in New Orleans, all part of her job as official Enforcer to Leo Pellissier, Master of the City. But Leo’s reign is being threatened by a visit from a delegation of ancient European vampires seeking to expand their dominions.

And there’s another danger to the city. When she hears reports of revenant vampires, loose in NOLA and out for blood, Jane goes to put them down—and discovers there’s something unusual about these revenants. They never should have risen.

Jane must test her strength against a deadly, unnatural magic beyond human understanding, and a ruthless cadre of near-immortals whose thirst for power knows no bounds…

Publisher: Roc
Price: $7.99
Release date: May 2, 2017
ISBN: 978-1101991404

Purchase links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Reign-Yellowrock-Faith-Hunter/dp/1101991402
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cold-reign-faith-hunter/1124367946?ean=9781101991404
Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Cold-Reign/Faith-Hunter/9781101991404
IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781101991404
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cold-reign
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Faith_Hunter_Cold_Reign?id=G6PbDAAAQBAJ
Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Cold-Reign-Audiobook/B06XRL3HMS

REVIEW

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley for an honest review.
Cold Reign (Jane Yellowrock) is an example of Faith Hunter’s writing at her best. While Jane and the rest of her crew are getting everything ready for the European Delegation to show up, When someone starts raising revenants, but these are not your ordinary revenants. They are harder to kill. So who is raising them and why? Jane will be kept very busy in solving these questions and more. I love this series and the complexity of the characters. They are always evolving.My favorite character is Beast. You will not be disappointed with this book. I urge you to get it and the rest of the series if you have not read any of them. I give COLD REIGN 5/5 STARS.

About Faith Hunter:
New York Times Bestselling author Faith Hunter writes three series: the Jane Yellowrock series, dark urban fantasy novels featuring Jane, a Cherokee Skinwalker; the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban fantasy / post apocalyptic series and role playing game featuring Thorn St. Croix; and the Soulwood Series featuring Nell Nicholson Ingram.

Visit Faith online at www.faithhunter.net, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway!
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of COLD REIGN and totes featuring Beast! Open to US residents only.
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SANTINO THE ETERNAL – BLITZ

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Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  3/28/2017
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Santino the Eternal has never craved the forbidden – until now. As a blood-thirsty serial killer hunts the glitzy streets of Las Vegas, Santino collides with a young college student – can she make it out alive?
Clara Denton’s life is flung into chaos when she discovers a drained corpse in a posh hotel room on the Strip. And as if her life wasn’t already spiraling out of control, her reclusive boss has taken a disconcerting interest in her. Unable to resist the dark pull, she is drawn further and further into the murky world of the undead – as well as just the dead, too. When the handsome Matthew Hunter arrives with his sights set on Clara, she is thrown into one final eternal struggle of good versus evil.
Can love truly be eternal?
Excerpt

 

 “Be free, my darling,” he said to the languid corpse.
With the back of his hand, he wiped away the last drops of the precious nectar he’d drained from her fragile veins. “You have served me well.” He watched as the ghost of his young victim fled her empty body.
He felt crushing remorse that he’d killed her. Her death was kind, painless, and he needed her blood, he convinced himself as he glanced around the darkened hotel room. The warm fluid rushing through him caused the sensation of a post-orgasmic high—so similar was the feeling that he craved the cigarette he usually only smoked after sex.
“No, not here,” he said aloud to himself, his agile fingers placing the pack of cigarettes back into his designer suit coat.
The door to the hotel room opened—a swath of light from the hallway burned into his eyes and his hand instinctively reached up to shield himself from it.
A young housekeeper burst in, her eyes only glimpsing his form for seconds as he moved from the room with such preternatural swiftness that he was just a mere blur to her mortal eyes.
It was several more minutes before his perfected ears heard her scream in terror.
Chapter One
“C’mon, baby, don’t run out of gas on me now.”
Clara Denton reached over and turned off the air conditioning in her 1986 Ford Escort. The fuel needle, pointed at the letter E, seemed to mock her as she irrationally turned off the radio, as if those minor efforts would have any effect on the amount of gas her old car would burn on her way to work.
“One more mile,” she said aloud to the vehicle. “One more mile and I promise to feed you after work. I can’t be late again.”
In her worn Fossil hobo purse her last ten dollars sat crumpled. Clara hoped it would provide enough fuel to get her back and forth to school that week as well as to her job cleaning rooms at the newest and classiest hotel on the Las Vegas Strip—the Roman.
Her stomach growled as she flashed her employee badge and pulled into the dark parking structure at the rear of the sprawling resort hotel and casino. At the place she’d worked before the employee facilities, those parts the guests didn’t see, were austere. Here, however, even the employee parking garage was glamorous.
As she fled the car, terrified of punching in late again, she thought about how she’d never once seen the reclusive owner of the Roman—his name was Marchetti, she couldn’t recall if she knew his first name. She assumed he was Italian, and rumors floated around that he was handsome, in his thirties, but even though he lived in the sprawling penthouse suite, no one she knew had ever seen him.
Clara’s first three rooms were easy cleans, and in the second one she was able to nibble on an unopened bag of potato chips—she hadn’t eaten since the night before when her roommate, Landon Miller, brought home scavenged baked ziti from the pizzeria he waited tables at.
The fourth room of her shift, however, was the one that changed the course of her life forever. As she flipped on the lights and walked in with her cleaning basket—maids at the upscale Roman weren’t allowed to push carts into the rooms—she saw it. A foot poking out from the crisp white sheet of the king sized bed. “Oh, sorry ma’am, I thought the room was…” She felt a rush of cool air blast past her, maybe even the faint hint of smoke, and then she saw it.
The foot protruding from the Italian 800 thread count Frette linens was not an alive foot. It was ghastly white, the red painted toenails a grotesque contrast to the paleness of the skin. A prank, she thought as she approached it, waiting for something to jump out at her. The air in the room changed, became oddly stagnant, as she sheepishly tugged at the sheet. Clara heard herself scream, as if a bystander, as her body crumpled to the floor.
“The police,” she finally managed to mutter, as she reached for the phone on the mahogany desk. She stared at the phone, unable to remember how to get an outside line for several moments before deciding instead to press the button that was labeled Emergency.
Within minutes, several large men in dark suits blew into the room. One lifted her to her feet and asked if she was okay. As she nodded, he glanced at her nametag and said, “You may have the afternoon off, Clara. Thank you.” He turned to look at the body as the other men donned latex gloves.
“Uh, we should call the police. This is the serial killer. It’s got to be another of his victims—you know, the Blood Lust Killer.”
The dark suited man in charge flung his body toward hers, his hands braced on his hips. “I believe it’s time for you to go.”
“No. You can’t touch anything until Metro comes,” she argued, her voice fighting to sound strong. These men were tampering with a crime scene—her roommate, Landon, when not serving greasy pizza and pints of beer—was in the police academy. Clara had helped him study enough to know these men were breaking the law.
“Steven, please escort the former employee from the premises.” He turned to face her once more, and with a sneer said, “We’ll mail your final paycheck. Your services here at the Roman are no longer required.”
She stood in shock, unable to process the dramatic turn that afternoon had taken. “You’re firing me?” she finally choked out through her tears. The man never answered her, and she followed him to the central housekeeping department to return her uniform. The dark-suited stoic presence stood outside the changing room and walked her to her car, reminding her that security cameras would watch her exit the grounds of the casino.
In her hot car, with guards staring at her, she reached for her cell phone. Despite the glare of the suited Steven approaching her, she dialed 911 and switched it to speaker as she sped down the exit ramp. “Yes, at the Roman,” she clarified to the dispatcher. “Room 80231—she was bloodless! White as a ghost.” She paused as the dispatcher read back the information, then as Clara began to ask about the serial killer her phone went dead. Damnit! Out of minutes!
Moments later, she was fighting her way through traffic. “That jerk-off, how dare he fire me,” she hissed into her empty car as she battled the throng of cabs down the small section of Las Vegas Boulevard that was known as the Strip. In shock, fuming and terrified, she barely remembered to make her left on Flamingo when her car started to sputter. “Not the transmission again,” she groaned before her eyes set on the fuel gauge. “Shit!” She covered her mouth with her hand—Clara rarely swore, and when she did, she shocked even herself. “I forgot to get gas!”
*****
Flamingo was his least favorite place to drive. Stop after stop, he could rarely pick up the kind of speed he craved. When finally he was able to swoop around yet another annoying billboard truck, his designer-shod foot mashed the accelerator down as hard as he could. The Maserati lurched, pressing him back into the buttery leather seats that had been custom made to fit his tall, lean body. And then he nearly ran over her.
She fell backward into her battered old car, smashing into the dented frame and falling face down onto the dirty black pavement of Flamingo Road. “Fuck,” he howled, the nimble car coming to a screeching stop as those behind him blew their horns and struggled to maneuver around him. He was able to stop his car at the side of the busy road, in front of the small frame of a young woman lying in the street.
“I didn’t hit you, Miss, did I?” He sprang from his car toward her. She’s moving, that’s good, he thought as she placed her palms on the pavement, pushing her lean frame up.
“Um, no, I just, I thought you were going to hit me, I jumped and tripped.”
“That is a relief,” he sighed. He reached for her hand and helped her to her feet.
“I-I’m fine now,” she said with a quick tug of her hand to remove it from his. But he couldn’t let go. He held onto her hand as a sensation so foreign, so odd, washed over him.
“Well, thank you for even stopping,” she said with a smile, tugging her hand from his once more. This time he let her soft hand fall from his, but he continued to look into her eyes. They were brown, chocolate brown, he thought. She was young, twenty-one was the number that popped into his head as he stared at her mutely.
She ran her hand through her hair as she turned to face her car. “Do you need me to call a car service for you?” he asked as she lifted the rear hatch and pulled out a red gas can. “No, thank you, I’m out of gas. It’s only a few blocks to the station.”
“I would never let you do that. Please, I’ll drive you.”
She stared at the car—clearly he was a rich businessman, a local, and, she had to admit, breathtakingly handsome. But still, she was no idiot. She wasn’t going to get into his car, or any stranger’s car, with a blood-sucking serial killer roaming Las Vegas murdering young women. “I’m fine, I’ll walk.” She took a few steps and heard him speak again.
“No, Miss, you will not. I cannot let you do that.”
“Let me?” She spun around and glared at him, empowered by the safety of the heavy traffic swirling around them like angry hornets.
He held up his hands in apology. “I didn’t mean it like that, I’m sorry. What I meant was it would be ungentlemanly of me. I can call road service, or perhaps go retrieve your gas for you while you wait in the air conditioning of my car?”
“I’m sorry to snap. I’ve had a terrible day. I was fired from my job and, well, it’s just been a rough one. I’d rather walk than wait, but thank you.” She set off again, with the man only steps behind her.
He caught up to her, his suit coat removed and tossed over one arm in the oppressive heat of summer in Las Vegas. “My name is Santino, by the way, and it is a pleasure to meet you, despite the circumstances of our introduction,” he said, positioning himself between the heavy street traffic and the young woman. “Miss…?”
“Clara Denton,” she answered with a smile. This drop-dead gorgeous rich guy is also a gentleman, she thought as he reached to carry the gas can.
At the gas station, his phone buzzed. With a quick glance at it, he looked to Clara. “I’m sorry, I have to take this. I apologize for my rudeness.” She nodded as he walked to the side of the gas station.
“Wait until I tell Landon about this guy,” she said under her breath as she walked into the building to prepay for the gas.
Walking out, can in hand, the man, Santino, had his back to her. He was talking into his phone. She could hear him as she walked by toward the pumps. “Yes, Don, you did the right thing to have it cleaned. A mess like that in my home I would never tolerate.”
Too bad he’s a neat freak, she thought as she pumped the gas into the can, not that it matters.
*****
An hour later, Clara was back in her apartment digging through her empty refrigerator. “No one ever buys milk,” she said to the empty apartment. The foil pan of leftovers was the only palatable food she could find, so she finished it off while working on her paper for class the next morning. Her third year at UNLV was going well academically—she was a top student in the English Department, but financially she was in trouble. Student loans were piling up, and her passion was literature rather than a career field that would result in a lucrative job. Even if she taught, she knew her living conditions would be austere at best for the next decade.
As she looked at the research she’d done on a Word document on her MacBook, a spoonful of greasy baked ziti perched at her lips, there was a knocking at the thin door. “Landon, take your key once in a while,” she shouted toward the door.
But Landon was not at the door. As she opened it, four members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, or Metro as it was referred to locally, stood there. “Oh come on in,” she said. The police are finally here about the dead body, she thought.
“We had a report of a crime from a resident at this address—a Clara Denton. Is that you?”
She nodded in relief. “Yeah, that’s me. Is she related to the serial murders?”
“She?” The suited detective looked at his notes before making eye contact with Clara again. They followed her inside.
“The woman—the dead body I found at work today.”
“Miss Denton, there was no body at the Roman. Not at the room number you reported, or any other room. Have you been following news coverage of the killings?”
“Well yes, but—wait a minute, there was a body, drained looking, white. The head of security and a few other men saw it, too.”
“Miss Denton, I understand the stress you’ve been under. However, calling 911 with a made up story is a serious crime. If we chased every baseless tip we’d be—”
“Baseless? I saw her!”
“You were fired today, were you not?”
“Well, yeah, because I insisted they call the police.”
“According to management at the casino, you were fired for being late too many times. As you were leaving the resort premises, you called 911 from your prepaid cellphone and made up a story about finding a body in order to inconvenience the hotel.”
Clara shook her head, the blood draining from her face. Was this really happening?
*****
Santino paced on the priceless rug that graced the polished marble floors of his penthouse suite high atop the Roman. His trusted head of security, Donovan Salerno, sat on the cognac leather wingback chair and glanced over the notes in his small notebook. The afternoon had been stressful, but Don thought he’d done well.
“And the maid? She won’t talk? Let’s make her happy,” Santino said as he rubbed his stubbly chin.
“Well, sir, we fired her, it was necessary that—”
“What the fuck did you just say? You fired her?”
Donovan took a deep breath and willed himself to stay calm. The boss was mad—deadly mad. He stood up and explained. “She demanded we call the police. That one, she was too smart. That young chick wasn’t like the Mexican maids that most—”
“I swear to God that if you say one ignorant bigoted thing you will regret it for the rest of your short life.” Santino had no tolerance for small-mindedness.
“Um, no, it’s just this housekeeper was not going to be deterred from alerting Metro to the mess in your house, sir.”
“So now she’s out there, with no loyalty whatsoever to us, no incentive to stay silent. That is a problem, Don.”
“Yes, sir. We’ll take care of her. I apologize for letting her go.”
“I don’t want her harmed, I merely want her silent. What is her name?”
Santino’s pale eyes focused on the man as he stopped his pacing. The words his head of security spoke caused him to grow cold, colder than his usual soulless body.
“Clara Denton.”
 About the Author

Sam JD Hunt resides in Las Vegas with her husband, the inspiration for the young Thomas Hunt character, as well as her two children. Her debut trilogy, The Thomas Hunt Series, put a fun and unique spin on the popular BDSM genre. She followed up with the highly successful DEEP: A Captive Tale–a dark BDSM erotic captor/captive story about a pirate and his lady that spans time and space. Her fourth novel, the full-length standalone The Hunt for Eros is an erotic art adventure that combines spicy romance with a cultural adventure based on true life events. It has been described as being like The Da Vinci Code, but with lots of heat added.
Hunt’s next release was co-written with her husband. Dagger: American Fighter Pilot is a steamy contemporary romance, which follows a squadron of fighter pilots as part of the American Fighter Pilot read-in-any-order series. Following the release of Dagger, Hunt released the much-anticipated MMF/Bi/Ménage erotic adventure, Taken by Two and then its sequel, Torn from Two. Next, Hunt plans to release DEEPER: Capture of the Virgin Bride as a follow-up to DEEP. When not writing, Hunt enjoys travel, community involvement, spending time with friends and family, and hiking. She spends her days writing and trying to answer the age-old question: is it too late for coffee or too early for wine?
Contact Links
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THE SIREN’S EYES – COVER REVEAL

Unveiling a new cover
THE SIREN’S EYES
by Helen Scott
the siren's eyes Book Cover

Series: The Siren Legacy Series, Book 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publication Date: June 2, 2017

When Cin Porte’s sister is abducted, she’s left with nothing but an encrypted note warning her that going to the police will end in dire consequences. Desperate for help, she turns to Thad Cantio. He’s cold, distant, and infuriatingly sexy, but he’s all she’s got.
Thad has spent his whole life trying to control his powerful visions, knowing that if he doesn’t, he’ll be outcast and alone. Few people know that his reserved, rational surface hides a deeply passionate, lonely man. But when Cin Porte begs for his help, he knows he can’t refuse, even though she has the power to shatter the walls he’s built around his emotions.
As the barriers between them break down and the danger grows, Cin and Thad have to choose between holding on to their defenses, or risking everything to save Cin’s sister–and each other.

Pre-order Now for $2.99 Only!

Other Books in the Series

Don’t miss the first book in The Siren Legacy Series by Helen Scott.
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The Siren’s Son
Series: The Siren Legacy Series, Book 1
When an immortal warrior meets a Scottish lass bewildered by the magic she has inherited, he yearns to protect her. But will his attentions doom them both to Zeus’ anger? Or worse, make his lovely mortal the target of the goddess Circe’s growing evil?

Giveaway

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Prizes up for grabs:
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
The Siren’s Eyes (signed ARC) and cute bookmark
Contest runs from April 19 – 23, 2017.

About Helen Scott

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Helen Scott lives in the Chicago area with her wonderful husband and furry, four-legged kids. She spends way too much time with her nose in a book and isn’t sorry about it. When not reading or writing, Helen can be found absorbed in one video game or another or crocheting her heart out.
Social media links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest

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DUTCH – BLOG TOUR

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DUTCH by Madhuri Pavamani
E-Original published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
ISBN: 9781250127198
Price: $3.99

Description
“Full of sex, magic, and turmoil…poetic and utterly beautiful. I can’t remember the last time a book made me stop and think, wow.” –Meredith Wild, #1 New York Times bestselling author

DUTCH is Madhuri Pavamani’s first book in a stunning new, suspenseful urban fantasy series that will take you on a wild ride full of danger, love, sex, and magic.

I’ve spent years holed up in the deepest, darkest parts of the city, fighting to keep Death and her Poochas from crossing the dead back to the living. My skill with a blade is bested only by my menace, my despair, my anguish – the strongest weapons I yield.

Then I meet Juma Landry and it all goes to hell.

She is beauty and love and sex and light, everything I am not. And she makes me want things I haven’t desired in years. But the monsters of my life, the evil lurking in the dark corners of my soul, those places craven and vile, bind me to a past I cannot shake free. As the most skilled Keeper for the Gate, nothing and no one can prevent me from excelling at a job I never wanted. I do it because it is my legacy, a fate I cannot outrun, but when Juma becomes my next assignment, each of her nine lives to be ended by my hand, I must decide: the legacy I never wanted or the love I don’t deserve.

“Ms. Pavamani’s DUTCH is the perfect melange of poetry, fantasy and rebellious raunch. Absolutely addictive!” –Helen Hardt, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“Dark. Sensual. Unputdownable. I devoured this book and can’t wait for the next!”–Kate Baxter, author of The Untamed Vampire

Author Bio
Madhuri Pavamani is the author of the paranormal romance trilogy, THE SANCTUM. A Southern girl with Northern sensibilities, a slight twang, and who still uses the word y’all, but never fixin’, she has an affinity for writing twisted love stories and dark poetry. A graduate of Barnard College, and incapable of leaving the bright lights of New York City, Madhuri works in Manhattan, but rests her head in New Jersey. She loves whiskey, tattoos, Bukowski, and yoga.

Author Links
Website: madhuripavamani.wordpress.com
Twitter: twitter.com/madhuriwrites

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZI3C0A
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dutch-madhuri-pavamani/1125684506
iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dutch/id1202992419
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dutch-3
Google Play: https://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN9781250127198

CHAPTER ONE

 

DUTCH

 

I was eight years old the first time I rode an elephant.

I was visiting my grandparents, and the local zoo’s specimen had given birth to a dwarf, so everyone in the household wanted to witness the freak. They rustled up the whole lot of us, waved down some auto-rickshaws, and off we went, zooming toward the unimaginable feat of nature.

I took one look at that dwarf and knew it was scared. I also knew it was a complete bore.

The mom was much more interesting and already back to earning her share, offering rides to any souls brave enough to climb atop her back. My cousins needed no invitation, and before anyone knew what was happening, grandparents included, they scampered up the poor beast’s back and were raring to go.

I stood off to the side and watched, shy and somewhat quiet, still a bit ill at ease in my new environs. It was not every day I was shipped halfway across the world on a bird in the sky, and summarily deposited with two elderly souls I barely knew and certainly did not trust.

The elephant was a good move.

I was warming up to the two brown people smiling while their eyes flashed back and forth in rapid succession from me to the brood atop the grey beast. My grandmother clucked warmly in my direction, offering some words of encouragement as the mahout waved me over.

He was awfully scrawny and rather filthy, and I shot him a foul look. No fucking way was he controlling anything if that grey monster decided to stop taking anyone’s shit. But I was eight, and I was curious, and it was an elephant, for fuck’s sake. So I stopped putzing around on the outskirts of the action and leaned in

contemplative

somewhat curious.

Which was enough for Mr. Mahout. Faster than I would have ever assumed he could move, he grabbed me by the nape of my neck and hoisted me onto the dwarf’s mama.

Not on her back, with my cousins

but right behind her ears, on what seemed to be her neck, my hands resting on her head.

She was just like the old man who swam laps at the YMCA every Monday and always bent over to lotion his legs, providing me the perfect view of his ass—hairy and wrinkled and grey.

The mahout settled in behind me and gave his signal, but the old girl wasn’t going anywhere. She bobbed her head side to side, and he yelled something in Tamil, all of it unintelligible since I didn’t speak a bit of anything from the motherland.

At least not then.

He yelled again and gave her some swats with his whip, but she didn’t give a shit. Instead, she lifted her trunk into the air, pushed it about like a show-off, raised it to her head, and sniffed my hands.

I froze, for a second worried I might piss my pants.

I did not want to piss my pants, sitting there high in the air, because I did not want to soil her neck, but really I did not want another excuse to be the laughingstock of my unruly gang of cousins. So I let her do whatever she needed to do, praying all the while her trunk wasn’t full of tiny teeth that could suddenly inhale my hands and then my arms and then my head to chew me up and feed me to the dwarf.

I had not flown halfway across the fucking globe to wind up as dwarf fodder.

So I shut up

and homegirl sniffed me up

and eventually she started walking, doing a slow rotation of the park, giving us kids the ride of our lives.

I was eight, and it was magical.

I am now thirty-seven, and let me tell you, this world is anything but magical.

My name is Dutch Mathew

I kill for The Gate

and I am a Keeper.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

JUMA

 

I was five years old when I died

and ooooooh god

did it hurt.

The pain is what I recall most, even more than the blood and the fear, the panic in my ma’s eyes as she begged my da to drive faster, the strain in my da’s voice as he emphatically insisted his child would

not

receive

a

transfusion.

Louder than any of that was the pain, the searing shock and burn of my throat as the bullet missed its mark, entered my neck right below my left ear, and exited slightly lower on the right side.

It had been a normal summer day in Atlanta, hot beyond all get-out, but by late afternoon with a storm on the horizon, the heat had relented a bit, providing some respite from the cramped boxes of our apartments in the Shamrock complex

North Druid Hills Road

Decatur, Georgia.

Hardly glamorous but hardly the hood, kind of a socioeconomic in-between land, rather nondescript and average.

The complex was full of families with kids everywhere

in the pool

on the courtyard

down the street.

A jumbled, excited, energetic mix of brown and black and white arms and legs, ponytails and braids, Mohawks and fades. We played outside, unsupervised, because there were so many of us, a mass of pint-size humanity, running wild.

Until the day I died.

The sky was clear and a bird sang,

which was so strange because usually the heat killed any motivation for creating sweet music. But not that day and not that bird. She was singing her heart out that afternoon.

I like to think of her as a “she” because that song was so damn pretty, so clear and melodious.

Until it wasn’t.

The shot rang out in all of that summer perfection, ruining our fun and scarring our childhood. Those kids I ran with when I was so, so small, they forever remembered that shot. I, on the other hand, forever remembered the pain.

Heat

ripped flesh

pain like fire

too much for a tiny human to comprehend and contain.

And metal.

The taste on my tongue, filling my throat until I coughed and sputtered and felt like I could barely breathe.

I screamed

I think

or I tried at least.

It came out gurgly and thick

choked.

Then arms

so strong and certain clutching me

and being airborne

high above the others

running

fast

fast

faster.

And screaming

everyone was screaming

kids

mothers

fathers

and over all of them was the lilt of my ma’s voice.

Through the haze of my pain and blood loss and trauma, she talked to me. Rubbing my head, begging me to keep my eyes open

we’re close

we’re close

we’re close.

But she could not ease the pain, damp the burn. Her voice could not soothe my misery, act as a salve, a poultice for the gaping holes in my tiny throat. Nothing could stop the fire that threatened to rip me in half.

That pain remains to this day. It hid in the dark places of my body, lingered in some of my light, and made certain I never forgot it. I might have worked for Death, that sexy mistress, but the pain was my lord and master.

I just didn’t share that with Death. Not then, not ever.

My da was chief of something at the hospital in town. He ran in like he owned the place, I came to learn much later, and started going about the business of saving my life. Until he was pushed away and told to “wait right there!” so they could go about the business of saving my life. But it did not matter, they could do nothing. None of them, neither the doctors and nurses nor my da the chief, because that day, July eleventh, was to be my last on this earth as Juma Landry, daughter of Rufus and Mimi Landry.

Because on that day, July eleventh, I died and became Death’s Poocha.

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THE UNYIELDING BY SHELLY LAURENSTON – REVIEW

the unyielding cover
Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated—along with the rest of the world—and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand…

Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment—and also kind of cute.

With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that—did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…

BOOK DESCRIPTION COURTESY OF AMAZON

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley for an honest review.

The Unyielding (Call Of Crows) is a fast-paced, roller coaster of a ride! Erin is a Crow, and can piss anyone off in just a few minutes. Each Crow has a special ability, and she has the ability of fire. She must team up with Stieg to get a sword to help stop Ragnarok from happening. Erin can even piss of the Gods with her annoying, snarky attitude. I love her!! Steig is a hunky Raven who is told to watch her back. Oh! Did I mention that a Dragon has the sword. This book will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. These two have so much chemistry between them that it is a wonder that they don’t go up in flames when they are around each other. I cannot wait to see what she has in store for us next. I recommend this book and series to everyone. I give THE UNYIELDING 5/5 STARS.

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